Peeling Cypress

This cypress pole is one that was being cut and removed to make way for a new fence. The tool I’m using is called a drawing knife. It probably lost popularity over a hundred years ago. It was usually used with a bench type apparatus called a shave horse. I built one a few years ago but lost it in the move. I will build another one because I really love using them. A shave horse is a simple and quick way of clalmping a wooden workpiece while you shave it to the size or shape you want it to be.

I chose cypress for the handrail I’m making since it will be outside in the weather. Cypress can handle the sun and rain much better than the pressure treated 2X4 that we’re replacing.

It’s easy to see how it was warped and split. The new rail will look much better and won’t have splinters.

Warped Handrail

A drawing knife has a long blade with a shape similar to a chisel so you can adjust the depth of a cut by the angle you hold the handles. With just a little practice, you can learn to control this tool land turn out some really cool projects.

Shave Horse

This is a photo of a shave horse that I built out of a mantle a friend was throwing away along with some firewood that I had. The “horses mouth” is what clamps the workpiece. The amount of pressure is scontrolled by your foot on the round dowel at the bottom. To rotate the piece, simply release your foot pressure, turn the piece and reapply the foot pressure. So simple and dfast.

Completed Rail